How to Get to Lake Toba Cheaply and Safely?


NINNA.ID– How to get to Lake Toba cheaply and safely? Well, Lake Toba has 8 regencies. It depends on which regency you plan to visit. The are four regencies that are the most visited by tourists. Samosir, Karo, Simalungun and Toba. Lake Toba is in North Sumatra province.

There are several ways to get to Lake Toba. If you live out of North Sumatra you should use either plane or ship. For foreigners, there are three gates available for you to get into Lake Toba.

First, you can get to Lake Toba from Kualanamu International Airport (KNO). Second, you can get to Lake Toba from Silangit Airport. The third choice, you get to Lake Toba from Tanjung Balai Harbor.

Kualanamu Airport


Most of foreigners use Kualanamu International Airport to get to Lake Toba. The distance between Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) and Lake Toba is around 174km (108 miles) and the quickest way to get there is to drive and then take a ferry takes around 4 hours.

Kualanamu Airport (

From Kualanamu Airport, the cheap usually, the backpackers go to Sejahtera Bus to get cheap transport. Usually, they go to Medan, to Amplas Station.

If you find difficulties in getting to Amplas, you should ask the crew or worker in the airport how to get a bus to Amplas Station.

Amplas Station
Amplas Station

If you arrive at Amplas Station you can continue to find Sejahtera Bus, Parisma or Sampri. Most people use Sejahtera Bus to get to Parapat. In Parapat you can see Lake Toba.


Another option is using Parisma or Sampri. You will arrive in Tigaras. From there you can see Lake Toba view. If you choose to visit Samosir Island, you can use a Ferry or boat from Tigaras to Simanindo, Samosir.

As usual, foreigners concentrate located in TukTuk. But, so many homestays, and hotels around Simanindo.

But if you have difficulty with how to communicate with the hotel staff or the owner of the homestay, feel free to call the Tourist Information Centre telephone number.

Silangit Airport

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From Silangit you can see Lake Toba view. But if you want to visit Samosir, you can order Damri Bus or taxi to Parapat. As I mentioned above, from Parapat you can see Lake Toba.

If you want to visit Samosir, you can use a Ferry or boat from Tigaraja, Parapat.

status bandara internasional silangit
Silangit Airport (photo: Damayanti)

Tanjung Balai Harbor

From Tanjung Balai Harbor you can order a taxi or you should out from the Harbor then you can order public transport. This option is quite difficult if you solo traveller. But if you are in a big group, it will be easier to order a taxi for you to drive you to Lake Toba.

Car Rental

If you want to have more space and privacy, you can rent a car to Samosir. But you need to do research first to find the best company for you. Or you can order the car when you arrive in Kualanamu Airport.

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Bagus Holidays Taxi office
Bagus Holidays Taxi office in Tigaraja, Parapat, Girsang Sipanganbolon, Simalungun Regency. (Photo : Damayanti)

The comparison. It must be cheaper using a taxi rather than rent a car. If we rent a car, it will be more expensive. A normal day for rent is around IDR 350.000 or more the wage of the driver is IDR 300.000+ fuel may cost IDR 200.000 + and the driver might be asking us for cigarettes and food/meals every day if he follows us to Lake Toba.

Reasons to Visit Lake Toba

There are many reasons why you should visit Lake Toba. Lake Toba is one of Global Geopark listed by UNESCO.

Lake Toba is formed by a mega-volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago. Lake Toba is 54 miles [87 km] long and 17 miles [27 km] wide, and it is easily the world’s largest crater lake.

It holds enough fresh water to cover the entire United Kingdom to a depth of about three feet. Set amid green volcanic peaks that form part of the Barisan Mountains, this spectacular body of water is, from any angle, a photographer’s dream.

The lake was born in one or more massive volcanic eruptions, which scientists believe may have been among the most violent in Earth’s history.

In time, the gigantic caldera filled with water, creating what is now known as Lake Toba. Subsequent upheavals in the lake bottom formed beautiful Samosir Island, which has an area of 250 square miles [647 sq km], about as big as the Republic of Singapore.

Sustaining Local Communities

The topography of area around the lake is undulated hills (43%), mountains (30%), and plain (27%). The area of Toba Caldera Geopark is estimated to have a population of 263.978 distributed in 7 regencies, belong nto the North Sumatra Province.

Settlements occupy the plains, where they practice their daily activities. This area locally inhabited by Batak Toba, Simalungun, Karo and Pakpak ethnics.

Batak traditional houses made of wood, with the shapes of the side walls like a boat hull and masts supported by strong pillars, bound to each other and placed on the stone foundations without cement, are very valuable ‘local wisdom’.

According to the geological conditions Samosir is highly risks of tectonic earthquake, subsidence and flooding.

The local economy is based largely on farming, fishing, and the raising of livestock, as well as tourism. Indeed, the vast natural amphitheater around Lake Toba is a farmer’s paradise. Terraces of emerald-green rice paddies rise high above the lake.

Coffee, fruit, and spices thrive alongside lush vegetable gardens growing in the rich, dark volcanic soil. Fishermen in their wooden canoes harvest their bounty from the cool, clear waters of the lake.

Writer: Damayanti Sinaga
Writer and also Tour Guide in Lake Toba